The Universal Heart: Silence in Relation

By Keira Madsen at

The Universal Heart (UH): Silence in Relation

… is a path of hope and beauty infused by our soul’s longing to belong wholeheartedly to life. Our desire for authentic relation to life is fuelled by a sacred-remembering that deserves our attention and care. Deep remembering has a listening-quality of Grace-in-action and has a profoundly restorative effect on our nervous systems and life orientation.

Encounters with the Universal Heart at the centre of the Inner Constellation Mobile (ICM) occur through a spacious contact with life as it is. As body, heart, and mind titrate within a larger container of group-presence, we discover the deep universal flame of our heart’s relational capacity.

Four Universal Heart Practice Groups:*

  1. Universal Heart in Relational : an annual on-line series offered October to March.
  2. Free Universal Heart Gatherings : a virtual celebration of the season on the Wednesday nearest Solstice & Equinox.
  3. Alumni Groups –  virtual meetings 6 times a year (prerequisites & dates below)
  4. Nature-Informed Silent Retreats: quarterly in-person Day Retreats at the Madsen home: a time for enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and touch of the natural world.

*Details for each option correspond by number below.

1. Universal Heart in Relation Series

* Please Note: this annual deep-dive exploration is limited to 8 participants
The Annual Universal Heart (UH) in Relation Series is a six-months on-line series designed to give extended support to awakening the subtle relational nature of our heart. Each month offers a practice theme that supports a gentle connection with our soul. Within this spaciousness we can turn towards our challenges and discover that they are the most vital part of our spiritual walk. This allows us to be more generous with our places of pain and disconnection, and to realize that our struggles are not just personal, but also generational and collective.

A palpable coherence lives within each of us as the Universal Heart. Every moment we choose to slow down, witness, and receive our experience of life in this moment, we deepen and stabilize coherence within our nervous systems. When working as a group we magnify and awaken both individual, ancestral, and collective potential.

October 2023: The Still Language of the Soul. What supports deep listening in your life (nature, ritual, ceremony, prayer, dance, yoga, meditation, breath, scripture, writing, sound, chanting etc.)? In deep listening the vertical resonance of our soul begins informing body, heart, and mind more coherently.

November 2023: Understanding Human Conditioning. An experiential witnessing of our human condition is a slowing down to be with life as it is: as opposed to externalizing life as something outside of us.

December 2023: Listening through Nature & the Nervous System. Our nervous system is the wisdom-keeper of our human journey—both light and shadow. Experiencing the nervous system’s timeless wisdom grounds a deep sense of purpose and trust in life.

January 2024: Recognizing our bodies as a flow of Ancestors walking through time. When we heal, the ancestors heal, as do future generations. What changes when we experience glimmers of this humbling reality?

February 2024: Spaciousness as the Elixir of Change. Inner-spaciousness is the profound blessing of unconditional presence in relationship to life: when we engage in life with fresh timeless eyes, a sense of deep belonging begins to stir in our heart.

March 2024: Global Social Witnessing (GSW) is the practice of identifying our relationship with the world around us. In effect, we are an essential aspect of the world evolving. Experiencing life through authentic relationship is the awakening of the Universal Heart.

Cost: $525  (Cdn. $, includes $100 down payment)

Cost: $425 (for previous UH participants) 

Monthly Structure:
  • Twice-monthly Saturday Meetings :  The 1st Saturday is 3 hours (10  AM to 1 PM Pacific) and the 2nd  Saturday is a 1.5 hours (10 to 11:30 AM Pacific). The 1st Saturday features a full or partial Inner Constellation Mobile (ICM); the 2nd Saturday features small and large group explorations of the monthly theme.
  • Weekly emailed meditations and sound healings (These are theme-related to support the weekly dyad practices.)
  • Weekly Dyads: Dyads help to ground our inner-discoveries within relationship and therefore within the intimate details of our everyday life. These can be made on zoom or phone and are 20 – 30 minutes (with partner changes every 4 or 5 weeks).
  • Weekly Journaling: Following each weekly dyad, reflective journalling is recommended for exploring the flavour of self-contact while sharing & listening.

Monthly Schedule: 

October  14  &   21 (2023)

November  4   &   18

December  2 (*ICM Workshop) & 16

January 6  &  20 (2024)

February  10 (*ICM Workshop)  & 17

March  2   &   16

Important Reminder: If this is your first series and you have not met me before, please phone (+1) 604-222-4111 prior to registering. This is a routine check-in to ensure that this program is a good fit for you.

2. Free Universal Heart Gatherings

… these quarterly on-line events are designed to synchronize our nervous system with the seasonal rhythm of the earth. In 2024, we gather on the following Wednesdays: March 20, June 19, Sept. 18, & Dec. 18 from 10 to 11:30 AM Pacific. (Please contact me by text or phone at 604-222-4111, if you wish to be added to the email reminder list.)

Each of these quarterly gatherings consists of a theme-related guided meditation, triad sharing, and large group sharing. If there is time, we close by creating a whiteboard drawing together to express our experience. This is sent to all the participants, along with recordings of the meditation and group sharing.

Spring Equinox Emergence as Becoming: Like sap rising, discovering the fresh energizes of spring-emergence awakens a thrilling promise within our heart.

We have to discern the heart first, then bring in the mind. The heart doesn’t mean the emotions. Listening to our heart means to fall into silence, into quietness. The impulse of our heart arises from stillness. As it arises it becomes freedom, and carries great excitement with it, great certainty (Richard Rudd, The Gene Keys).

Summer Solstice Tending our Belonging: What has ripened within us that allows for more wisdom, depth, meaning, and relational flow?

As soul becomes more integrated within our body, we begin to understand what it means to nurture our inner and outer life: 
where we need to pay more attention and what is ours to let go of.

Fall Equinox Rooting through the Ancestors: Precise nervous system attunement to even one ancestor can deeply transform our life orientation.

Bowing to the Ancestors, 
holding more intimately the disrupted ground I stand upon. 
Honouring the wounded life my body wears
invites eternal belonging ...

Learning to bow becomes a blessing stream.
A home for Restoration
A place of Peace
A walk with timeless Grace ...
Winter Solstice Attending to the darkness before turning to the light honours the mystery of our origin, and the universal womb from which all life is born. In darkness the innate depth of our soul in God/Source is deeply nourished, as the dark soil of the mystery provides the spacious womb for the light’s seed. Its arrival in our awareness is the light born of darkness, and can radically change our life’s orientation.
  • The secret of our greatest blessing lies within the sacred relationship between the dark and the light.

    By honouring the darkness, we also honour the unborn, hidden, denied, and exiled parts of ourselves and humanity.

    We turn towards the light, not to get away from the dark, but to honour the mystery of life and our soul’s timeless belonging here.

3.  Alumni Group 2024

A Universal heart-path is about learning to walk with life. It therefore includes the flow and the stuck. This allows us to co-create and weave a more generous understanding of who we are, why we are here, and why it is that we struggle. The annual UH Alumni group is held on Zoom and designed to support those who have participated (or are currently attending) a Universal Heart Series, ICM Workshops,  in -person Nature-Informed Silent Retreats, or a Returning to Silence mini-series*.

  • 2024 Alumni gatherings are from 10 to 11:30 AM Pacific on the first Sunday of alternating months (except February): Feb. 11, April 7, June 2, Aug. 4, Oct. 6, & Dec. 1.
  • Designed to till the soil of our group’s depth and connection, we will begin with meditation and group sharing.
  • The direction of the group will evolve organically with the option of a full or partial ICM, sound healing, or simple practices that support inner-stillness and unconditional belonging.
  • All sessions are recorded and emailed to participants after the session.

Cost: $100 (Canadian) for one year — e-transfer, cheque, cash, or PayPal all acceptable!

* The Returning to Silence mini-series is a sporadic 6-week on-line course offered in the spring between the 6-month Universal Heart Series.

4. Nature-informed Silent Retreats at “Madsen Maples”

2024 Silent Retreat Schedule

The greatest sign of respect that we can give to life and ourselves is to sit in silence and listen… with our whole being … through our eyes, ears, smell, touch, taste, and heart. Being still and listening invites the timeless gift of presence. 

Gathering with others in this gentle focussed practice helps ground presence in our shared world.

Four times a year you are invited to share in the simple practice of attuning our senses to the natural world around us. Learning to know ourselves through nature’s reflection provides nourishment for the soul and helps the nervous system ground, revitalize, and restore its natural rhythm.

Saturdays: March 23, June 22, September 14, and Dec. 21 
(10 AM to 4 PM)

* Please note that retreats are limited to 6 participants.
Indoor-seating is provided as well as spaced outdoor-seating, including a fire-pit option.

Appropriate clothing & blankets are encouraged for outdoor meditations, along with snacks & tea for the day.
Filtered naturally-flavoured water is provided.

Retreat days being and end by sharing nature attunement in-forms our contact with life.

No other revelatory experience can do for the human what the experience of the natural world does.

(Thomas Berry)

Illustration by Maurice Sendak from Open House for Butterflies by Ruth Krauss

In listening, we discover that we are not separate from nature or from life — our heart pumping, our breath, the feel of our feet on the ground, the smell of roses and lavender, the taste of tea - all the ways nature enjoys herself through our body.
 Through smell, hearing, touch, sight, taste, the timeless intuition within Silence, we discover home in our heart, mind, and body.

*Where appropriate vocal sound healing will be used to relax the body’s nervous system and open channels of receptivity and stillness.
Cost: $75  
The Universal Heart Comes Offering Flowers
(A Universal Heart Blessing)

The universal heart comes offering flowers

innocent and profound.
... When not seen or acknowledged,
different hearts take root:

The protected-heart
that has no
for the timeless beauty
of the flowers

The sad-heart that feels
separate from the whole.
The wounded-heart that echos
the deaf aloneness of wounded life.


primal call of wounded-life
awakens the grounded-heart that listens

through the grace
of her timeless-feet.

The mind-heart that hears
the sound of timeless-feet
as energy rushes up the body
and joins the joyful-heart.

The joyful-heart

that remembers the
timeless offering of flowers
of the universal-heart.